Hamra (Beqaot) Tue 29.11.11, Afternoon

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Racheleh H. (reporting and photographing), D. (guest)

Translator:  Charles K.

12:30  Bezeq checkpoint is the same as always – the guard behind the concrete shelter pointing his weapon at the cars on the road.

Near al-Farsiyya– pupils walk along the roadside.  Palestinian cars stop to pick up some of them.

12:50  Hamra checkpoint

A line of five cars from the east.  The soldiers’ lunches are unloaded.  The soldier in the tower comes down to get his meal and immediately climbs up again.  The line of cars shortens.  The soldiers wear flak jackets, no helmets.  Some of them stand with legs apart in a line across the road.  A small truck loaded with metal cages and fence components waits at the emplacement on the road, not allowed to continue eastward.  It reverses and parks on the side of the road; perhaps someone’s finding out about it.  Five minutes later it returns to the emplacement, then drives back west (it didn’t go through) and disappears.  The soldiers briefly found time to discuss us:  Are we allowed?  Forbidden?  Why are we permitted to be here?

13:05  A taxi from the west that reached the emplacement on the road is sent back. 

13:10  It’s returned to the emplacement, passengers get out, already holding their belts in their hands.  The taxi is sent back again.  One of the passengers tells us she’s from Jenin, a teacher.  She’s had some kind of operation, and is on the way to Amman to see a specialist.  The taxi arrives at 13:20.  The driver says that the delay was because all the bags had to be inspected.  In the past we’d been able to see the vehicle with the scanner.  Today it wasn’t visible.

Many Transits, minibuses and buses going west without being delayed, transporting laborers who’d been working in the Jordan Valley. A group of laborers gets out of an Israeli vehicle and goes through the checkpoint on foot.

A., from Nablus, says that the long-time entrance to the fruit orchards and vegetable fields south of the checkpoint has been closed (photo, left); now the entrance is via a route that’s at the mercy of the weather (photo, right).  When it rains, the mud makes it impassable (the road isn’t paved; cars sink into the mud).  A family lives in the house next to the groves; they’re also “stuck” until the road dries out.  A. drove us in his car to show us both roads.  He said their complaints to the DCO didn’t help.  We understood he grows vegetables there, and markets them.  I asked whether the soldiers won’t make trouble for him because he took us in his car.  “They’ll make trouble,” he replied, “So what?  They make trouble all the time, but we keep going.”

13:55  We left.

Alon road:  We enjoy seeing the slopes along the road which are now tinted green.  There are no soldiers in the areas where the Kfir unit trains.

Because of an unforeseen need to bring the car home (again), we didn’t drive up to the Tayasir checkpoint.

Bezeq checkpoint– we went through.